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Feb 15, 2006 SPIDERWORT
N. Walker

Spiderwort is perennial and grows in meadows, roadsides and deciduous woods. It is shade and sun tolerant. It grows from a rhizome and forms one to three foot clumps. The foliage droops in a strange way. The flowers grow in a terminal cluster and have three rounded petals, and are various shades of blue and purple. The flowers have gold colored stamens and hairy bracts. The flowers open in the morning and closes by noon. An enzyme contained in the flower causes it to quickly decompose into a slimy gel. This occurrence gives the plant alternate names of widow's tears, Jobs tears and cow slobber. More flowers develop each day to provide a long blooming season. The Genus of Spiderwort is named for John Tradescant who was the King of England's gardener during the 1600's. The species name bracteata is Latin for "bracted". The bracts of Spiderwort are as big as the leaves. The plant, which has long grass like leaves, grows to a height of almost 3 feet. The bright blue flowers, which are attract honeybees, grow on a slender stem. The stamens have long purple hairs.